Employment prospects in Canada
Want to work while you’re in Canada? Here’s how.
Canada, over the past few years, has seen an abundance of international students from around the world and has provided various work opportunities to both, students and working professionals. In fact, many people who arrived as students chose to settle down permanently in Canada.
Working as a student
Working part-time while can be a great way to help with the cost of living in Canada and also gain work experience in your field of study.
As an international student in Canada, you can work along with your studies, provided you:
- have a verified study permit and are a full-time student
- are studying for either a degree, diploma or certificate course
- have a Social Insurance Number (SIN)
Then you can:
- Work up to 20 hours per week during regular academic sessions, and
- Work full-time during scheduled breaks, such as the winter and summer holidays or spring break
For students, employment can be on-campus and off-campus.
On-campus means being a working resource on your college/university campus itself. You can work on-campus without a work permit if you have a valid study permit, or are a full-time student at:
- A public post-secondary institution, such as a college or university, or a collège d’enseignement général et professionnel (CEGEP) in Quebec
- A private post-secondary institution that operates under the same rules and regulations as a public institution, and receives at least 50 per cent of its financing for its overall operations from government grants (currently only private college-level educational institutions in Quebec qualify)
- A Canadian private institution authorised by provincial statute to confer degrees
Some options for working on-campus are:
- Research Assistant or Teaching staff (depends on research grants)
- In student organisations to uplift segments like sports, entertainment, etc.
- In Library or a Hospital
- Be self-employed or start a private business, including taking up a contract to provide on-campus services
Off-campus implies an area outside of your campus premises. For this you can consider:
- Paid work: opportunities include working in cafes, bars, restaurants and hotels, farming or fruit picking, or sales and administration roles
- Tutoring: if you have existing qualifications or professional work experience, you might be able to get casual or part-time work in your field
- Internships: paid or unpaid internships can be a great way to get exposure to professional, financial and creative industries
- Volunteering: there are many charities and non-government organisations (NGOs) in Canada and they always need volunteers to help out. It can be a great way to meet friends, get some hands on work experience and give back to the community
Your social insurance number
You will need a Social Insurance Number (SIN) from Service Canada in order to work in Canada or receive benefits and services from government programs.
To apply for a SIN for on-campus work, you must have one of the following conditions or remarks printed on your study permit:
- May accept employment on the campus of the institution at which registered in full-time studies
- May accept employment on or off campus if meeting eligibility criteria as per R186 (f), (v) or (w). Must cease working if no longer meeting these criteria.
If your study permit does not have one of these conditions or remarks, you will need to submit a free request for an amendment to your study permit before you can apply for a SIN.
Working after you graduate
A work permit is necessary for working in Canada after completing your studies. One of the most widely accepted is Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PWPP) and comes in handy if you apply to become a permanent resident of Canada later.
PWPP work permits are valid for the same length of time of your initial study program (up to a maximum of three years) and let you work in any occupation, as well as change employers at any time.
To be eligible for PWPP, you must have graduated from a Designated Learning Institute (DLI). Since not all programs from DLIs fulfil the eligibility criterion, ensure you check it beforehand. You must apply for the PWPP within 90 days of receiving written confirmation that you’ve completed your academic program.
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